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Monday, February 10, 2014

Freezing Tips

First, sorry.  I know I haven't been blogging much lately.  I'm going to try to change that.

I will start with some ideas for getting the most of your money using your freezer. 

I was rooting around in our freezer the other day and noticed some things in there that I thought would be some good tips to pass on as ways to lower waste and save money.  Who doesn't want to do that?  Maybe you know some of these tips, maybe you don't.  And maybe you have others to share--so please do!

Recipes that call for tomato paste rarely use a whole can.  So what do you do with the paste left over?  You can put it in an airtight container in the fridge if you're going to use it soon.  But usually it ends up getting pushed to the back of the fridge and you find it turned into an interesting science experiment.  I scoop tablespoon-sized globs of the paste onto a plate or pan with parchment paper on it and stick it in the freezer.  Once frozen, I put it in a freezer bag--all ready for you to thaw and use when you need it. 

I'm a Parmesan snob, so 9 times out of 10, I grate my own Parm (and Romano) instead of using pre-grated.  Believe me, it's much better that way.  Anyway, you can only grate so far before getting to the rind.  I save these rinds in the freezer and use them to flavor sauces, stews, soups--anything where the cheesiness can help to improve the flavor of your end product.  Simply throw the rind in and let it melt into your dish.  Yum.

Why is it that there always seems to be a banana or two that isn't eaten?  It just sits on the counter getting soft and black.  If it's too soft to eat (but not yet rotten), throw it in the freezer.  They will turn black very quickly, but freeze solid and are great for using in banana bread or pancakes or muffins.  Pull what you need out of the freezer and let it thaw on the counter (they thaw pretty quickly).  Instant banana puree ready for your recipe! 

Buttermilk is the tomato paste of the dairy world.  You always need just a portion of the carton it comes in.  Instead of putting it in the fridge for a while and trying to think of a bunch of buttermilk recipes, measure out 1/4 cup portions of the buttermilk into a muffin tin and freeze.  Once it's frozen, put them in a freezer bag and you have buttermilk already measured out--just pop it in the microwave and return it to a liquid state and you're good to go!

There are other things we do that aren't currently in our freezer:  Mary Beth makes loads of basil pesto at the end of the season and we freeze it in ice cube trays--a great way to get a taste of summer in the midst of winter.  In fact, ice cube trays are a great way to save lots of things for later.  I sometimes freeze wine in trays to use later.  Or chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.  They come in little cans and you never need all of them.  Give them a chop, measure out into an ice cube tray (in tablespoon-sized portions) and you have it whenever you need it.

So there you go--stop wasting food and money with some of these simple freezer tips.  Again, if you have any to share, let me know!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rich, great tips-I never thought about freezing buttermilk, I will try that. I also freeze leftover coffee or espresso in ice cube trays to make iced coffee drinks in the summer.